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Secret Deodorant Offers $529K to Help the USWNT Achieve Equal Pay … But Isn’t That the Soccer Federation’s Job?

It's a lovely offer, but it doesn't do much to deal with the U.S. Soccer Federation and FIFA's systemic sexism.

USWNT world cup champions

Secret deodorant, via their parent company Proctor & Gamble, has pledged $529K to help the USWNT achieve equal pay. Secret, already a sponsor of the USWNT, announced their pledge in a full-page ad in the New York Times. The ad urged the U.S. Soccer Federation to “be on the right side of history … Let’s take this moment of celebration to propel women’s sports forward. We urge the US Soccer Federation to be a beacon of strength and end gender pay inequality once and for all.”

As the USWNT continue their victory tour after winning the Women’s World Cup, the conversation has largely turned to the subject of equal pay. During the finals match against the Netherlands, the stadium erupted in cheers of “equal pay!” as FIFA President Gianni Infantino took the field.

Secret’s pledge, which joins Luna Bar’s commitment to pay each player $31,250, is undoubtedly awesome and well deserved. But it does little to change the systemic sexism that runs rampant in FIFA and the U.S. Soccer Federation. Earlier this year, the USWNT filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation over gender discrimination. Their (second in a row) epic win at the World Cup has only intensified the scrutiny of the USSF’s policies.

Giving these athletes equal pay feels like a no-brainer: after all, they consistently outperform and outrank the U.S. men’s team. And while the sport is dogged with rumors of less profit and viewership than male sports, the facts don’t justify it. FIFA estimated a global audience of 1 billion viewers across all platforms for the women’s finals, a record-breaking turnout in viewership. And the merch sales are through the roof: the USWNT jersey is now the top-selling soccer jersey of all time on Nike.com.

And yet the pay disparity is massive. The U.S. men’s team earned performance bonuses totaling $5.375 million after losing in the round at 16 at the 2014 World Cup. The women’s team earned $1.725 million for winning the World Cup the following year. As for the athletes, they support corporations joining the fight and stepping up to the fight.

Here’s hoping that the actions of these corporations will light a fire under the USSF. As Megan Rapinoe said, “A little public shame never hurt anybody, right?”

(via Jezebel, image: Elsa/Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.